View Full Version : MacBook Air or MacBook Pro?

Mary Postblack
2010-08-28, 10:45
I want to buy a second hand laptop but I don't know if look for a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. I need a powerfull machine (Pro) but I preffer smaller and lighter (Air). A fear a bit an Air because I think a lot of people has had problems.
What do you recomend me? And what reazonable prices for both?

2010-08-28, 11:46
There's no way I'd buy a second hand MacBook Air at this point, or even a new one. They desperately deserve an update.

This should be in the Purchasing sub-forum.

2010-08-28, 11:51
Why not go with a 13" MBP?

2010-08-28, 12:04
I think in these cases, "need" outweighs "prefer", wouldn't it? Six months from now, what are you going to appreciate more...the ability to get your work done in a timely, efficient manner, or 1.5lbs. of weight and "it's so thin!" bragging points?

I'll give you a few seconds to think it over.




Split the difference and get a refurb (you said second-hand, so you've obviously not looking for brand new, full price) 13" MacBook Pro. You're kinda getting your cake (powerful, full-featured portable Mac) and eating it too (small and light, compared to the other pro models). Plus, since you were considering a MacBook Air, the 13" display isn't a shock to you.

Normally, I'd recommend the $929 model, but I see where the new current-generation 13" MacBook Pro is at the refurb section for $1,019...$180 off new, for the same exact model you'd pay $1,199 for if you walked into an Apple Store today.

The differences that extra $90 gets you?

- 2.4GHz vs. 2.26GHz (not huge, I know...but I'm including it with all the other improvements)
- 4GB RAM vs. 2GB
- 250GB hard drive vs. 160GB
- NVIDIA GeForce 320M graphics vs. the 9400M graphics
- 10-hour battery vs. 7-hour battery

Those five things, all taken together? Well worth the $90, IMO. The RAM and battery alone are, with the other three being nice icing on the cake!

You get a lot less for your money with the MacBook Air. Especially at this time, due to update cycles (MacBook Pro just had one a few months ago, MacBook Air hasn't been touched since June 2009).

Factor in that any refurb MacBook Air you get is going to cost the same (or more, as is the case at the moment, with $1,249 being the least expensive refurb Air being offered) and you won't be getting any of the above specs/features (because the MacBook Air has gone nearly 14 months without an update), and the question pretty much answers itself, IMO.

Even if the MacBook Air gets updated soon, you'll be paying new, full price on it, and it'll be 2-3 months before they ever start to appear as refurbs or second-hand.

You pay more for less, figuratively and literally, with a MacBook Air. Yes, you get the slim, light body for the extra money. But you're also getting specs and performance over a year old, that couldn't possibly compare to either of the first two 13" MacBook Pros currently offered (previous-gen for $929, or current-gen for $1,019).

And let's take a look at the true difference between a 13" MacBook Pro and MacBook Air:

Both are the same width and depth (actually, the MacBook Pro is a skootch narrower at 12.78" vs. the 12.8" of the MacBook Air). They have the same 8.94" depth, front to back.

Thickness? The MacBook Pro is a uniform .95", just under 1". The Air tapers from .16-.76.

Weight? The Pro is 4.5lbs, the Air is 3lbs.

So it comes down to this...is .2" and 1.5lbs. worth the extra money and dated specs/performance (1.86GHz, 2GB non-upgradeable RAM, 120GB hard drive, the older 9400M graphics and 5-hours of battery life)?

To me, no. Not a chance. But that's a decision only you can make for yourself. I've provided the hard numbers and criteria...


2010-08-28, 12:18
A used Air would be a terrible choice right now unless you find a deal that's just dirt dirt cheap. I had the "pleasure" of using a year-old MacBook Air for about a week recently and came away from the experience wholly unimpressed.

I never quite realized how positively crippling the single USB port would be, but I managed to slog through. The single, mono speaker was an unpleasant surprise (I thought something was broken until I read somewhere that there was only one speaker) and pretty off-putting in the few occasions that I wanted to listed to something without headphones. The CPU and disk performance were about what you'd expect for a low-end, year-old notebook. The aluminum build isn't a strong unibody design like the current MacBook lines; the Air does feel light but it also feels fragile.

Frankly, given the outrageous price (for a new one, at least) and limited I/O flexibility, after using one for a while I could never recommend a MacBook Air as a primary machine, and only as a secondary machine for people who have more money than sense. For the money, most people would be better off with a MacBook + iPad.

My vote is for MacBook, non-Air.

2010-08-28, 12:22
Also, moving thread to the Purchasing Advice forum...

2010-08-28, 12:25
I need to add that a lot of this, of course, hinges on what you do, and the kinds of things you'll be using your new laptop for.

If the MacBook Air had been updated a few months ago, along with the Pro models, and was sporting 2.0+ GHz, 4GB RAM, a larger hard drive, the 320M graphics, 10-hour battery, snazzy new Unibody design/construction, etc., and was showing up as a current-gen refurb for a few hundred bucks off its new price, I'd have no problem recommending it if you were just surfing, writing and things like that (and if you were adamant about the thinness/weight being a priority, choosing it over performance).

But there's no way I'm going to recommend a 14-month old machine, with those specs and features, when a current-gen refurb 13" Pro is available for just over a grand. :eek:

Tell us how you'll be using it, as that always helps people tailor their advice and suggestions a bit more for your particular scenario (but even if you're just surfing and writing, I'm still not going to recommend the Air, in its current form). :D

2010-08-28, 12:48
If there were a 15-inch MacBook Air with 4 (preferably 8) Gigs of RAM and 1680x1050 resolution, it'd be an option for me. I mostly use USB for backups, to charge my iPhone and to occasionally connect a stick. I don't find the MacBook Pro's speakers all that great for extended music listening, so I tend to have a cable hooked up anyway. I do use external screens a lot, and the MacBook Air has me covered.

That said, the current MacBook Air's specs are simply poor, and an upgrade is way overdue. So on that count, I'll agree with Brad's "for people with more money than sense" assessment.

2010-08-28, 17:42
Nods head in agreement.

Mary Postblack
2010-08-31, 10:48
You are right, I'm in love with the MB Air but I think it has become somewhat outdated. Perhaps to blame the appearance of IPad. I wish Steve Jobs renew MB Air soon.
Thanks, Mary

Mary Postblack
2010-08-31, 10:52
Interesting but not so light. Do you know if both could buy by a similar price?
Thanks, Mary

Mary Postblack
2010-08-31, 11:22
Documented many thanks for your post, with which I, unfortunately, totally agree. I sincerely believe that buying an Air instead of a Pro is losing money and opportunities to maximize the machine performance in future updates. I still do not understand why Apple left the Air section it offers a wonderful design.

Mary Postblack
2010-08-31, 11:49
Very interesting your words and your bet: MB Pro and Ipad but a bit expensive combination. I think is better MB Pro and IPhone. As other mates posted, MB Air looks not strong and powerfull, expensive but very nice. I agree that is a serious problem not having USB port
Thanks, Mary

Mary Postblack
2010-08-31, 11:57
Ok Brad

Mary Postblack
2010-08-31, 12:04
Hi Brad, certainly I need a laptop because of performance, robustness, lightness and design and I use it mainly professionally. For this reason I agree with you and others that the Air, much to my regret, is not a good option.
Thanks, Mary

Mary Postblack
2010-08-31, 12:06
Totaly agree with you and Brad.
Thanks, Mary

Mary Postblack
2010-10-22, 14:52
Hi, a friend sent me this announcement because he knows I'm looking for a powerful Mac segundamano. Although I prefer a laptop, as I said here, I think this MacPro 8-Core 2.26GHz Nehalem is a good machine but a bit pricey $ 1,950 :\
I hope your comments.;)
Thank you very much

2010-10-22, 20:24
If you haven't purchased a Mac yet, have you seen the new MacBook Air? They're much more sanely priced, IMO. :)

2010-10-26, 23:56
Ah, this thread is perfect!!!

My beloved 15-inch 4 year old MacBook Pro went belly-up due to a logic board failure last week. Quoted $2000 to replace it. :( Time for a new computer.

I got to play with the new Air over the weekend. I like the idea of ease of portability but in every other category a 13-inch MBP blows it away. Including in price. And when Apple is gouging its customers here in Australia despite the AUD and USD being at parity, those savings mean a lot. Plus no need to buy a bunch of cables and external drives to make full use of the Air.

2010-10-27, 21:29
Ah, this thread is perfect!!!

Well, perhaps it *might* be, if most of the posts weren't from back in August - a century ago already. ;)

(I was reading the comments with puzzlement, until it occurred to me to notice that they were from August.)

2010-11-03, 16:17
Well, perhaps it *might* be, if most of the posts weren't from back in August - a century ago already. ;)

(I was reading the comments with puzzlement, until it occurred to me to notice that they were from August.)

I'm always a little late to the party. Heh. :D

Only started looking into this after the ol' MBP up and died the same week the new Air came out. Lo and behold someone else had the courtesy of starting a thread earlier and save me the trouble of starting another one...

Right. Off to store to pick up shiny new computer. Then spend the rest of day at work setting up said computer while in a state of Apple-induced post-orgasmic bliss. :cancer: